Shotguns are weapons from the past. They number in the millions across the country and we've seen them fired a million times before, usually in films and on TV. But how do shotguns work? Knowing how a shotgun works will help you understand it better, and it may even help you improve your shot. Before we get into that, let’s dig into the history of shotguns.
History of the Shotgun
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Shotguns were originally used in the 60s. In 1873, the very first two-barrel shotgun was produced and developed, and in 1904, the first modern pump-action shotgun was introduced. They were extremely popular around the beginning of the century. Many military officials were so enamored of their personal shotguns that they took them to World War I instead of sidearms, garnering them the title "trench guns." Since then, they've become a permanent element of the military's arsenal, as well as a part of many citizens' daily life.
The shotgun is the gun equivalent of the Swiss army knife. It's a must-have tool on the field, in war, and on the hunt. They're just as effective in non-lethal scenarios as they are in lethal ones, such as scaring away rodents or opening locked gates in a law enforcement and military situation.
They are among the most versatile firearms available. They can be used for hunting, sport, or defense. You can shoot at moving targets, such as clays or birds, or stationary targets, depending upon the type of ammo you choose. You can use shotguns to hit short-range targets as well as targets up to a couple of hundred yards away.
The Basics of How Guns Work
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Before getting into how shotguns work, let’s first understand the basics. Modern guns, whether they're a pistol, a rifle, or a shotgun, all work similarly. They must fire ammunition from a large cylinder known as a barrel, as well as allow for the loading and unloading of fresh and used magazines. When you pull the trigger, a combustible load on the rear of a cartridge or bullet is struck by a hammer or firing pin. This generates a small explosion in the barrel, changing the air pressure and propelling whatever was in front of the combustion (such as a bullet) out the opposite side at a high speed.
With each stroke of the trigger, shotguns are capable of firing a batch of small projectiles rather than a single bullet. These projectiles do not need to be as efficient as bullets and are unlikely to go large distances. They're built to cause harm at close ranges. Lead, steel, rocket-like sabots etc are all examples of shotgun ammunition. Various shooting slugs can also be shot from shotguns.
Types of Shotguns and How They Work
Shotguns exist in a variety of sizes, and they are used for many different things. The most prevalent types and their shotgun technology are highlighted below.
1) Break-Action Shotgun
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Break-action shotguns have a junction between the head and the stock that allows the barrel to release, uncovering the chamber for discharge. They are a type of double-barreled shotgun. These shotguns have the major disadvantage of being single-shot firearms, which means that after you shoot the single cartridge in each barrel, you have to load the gun again. Break action and bolt action shotguns work the same.
How Does It Work?
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Break-action shotguns allow you to put bullets straight into the chamber by "breaking open" the barrel or barrels from the receiver. Since most break-action shotguns only have one or two barrels, they can only discharge one or two shots.
2) Pump-Action Shotgun
A pump-action shotgun is a single barrel shotgun that can hold numerous shots. You can extract old shells and load a new one by dragging the pumping handle towards yourself and then pushing it back to its initial place along the barrel. Because of their dependability and capacity to hold numerous rounds, pump-action shotguns are commonly utilized by law enforcement agencies all over the world.
These firearms are typically regarded as the greatest alternative for home defense. They're simple to use, difficult to break, and extremely dependable.
How Does It Work?
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Pump-action shotguns are the shotgun family's typical powerhouses. Extra ammunition is stored in a cylindrical magazine beneath the barrel. You slide a round from the cylindrical magazine up into the barrel while expelling the used cartridge by manually pumping the action back and forth. It will not shoot if you do not cycle after each shot.
3) Semi-Automatic Shotgun
When the trigger is pulled on these guns, it shoots a single shotgun shell, ejects the spent shell, and chambers a new shell from a clip. As a result, you'll be capable of firing rounds quickly and accurately. If you want to go hunting with your gun, keep in mind that there are different hunting laws for this type of gun.
Semi-automatic shotguns are more vulnerable to jamming issues than the other type of shotguns because bullets are continuously loaded and the mechanism is more sophisticated.
How Does It Work?
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Semi-automatic shotguns, like most pump shotguns, contain a cylindrical magazine, but they function more like semi-automatic handguns. The expanding gas's energy is diverted to remove the old shell from the magazine and reload a new one. Inertia is used in some semi-automatic designs to cycle the action. You can fire numerous rounds with a semi-automatic shotgun by repeatedly pulling the trigger until the barrel is empty.
When Using a Shotgun, How Do You Ensure Your Safety?
The action of most shotguns will most likely influence how you use them.
Break-action shotguns are simple to maintain. When the action is cracked open, the empty chambers or shotgun barrels are visible, and the shotgun is rendered useless. The shotgun is, in a sense, somewhat disassembled.
Both a pump and semi-automatic shotgun work similarly to a semi-automatic handgun in that there are two regions of the gun to check for unloading. First, make sure there are no shotgun shells in the magazine. Second, double-check that the chamber is completely empty. Taking rounds out of a tubular magazine does not mean the weapon is empty. Pull the forend back on a pump shotgun to reveal the chamber area, where you can see if a round is lodged. A bolt handle will be located on the side of the receiver of a semi-automatic shotgun. You can see the chamber by extending it back and keeping it open.
If you do not possess a shotgun but want to get one, go to a local range and lease one for the afternoon. Try to obtain a demonstration of how to use it safely and with care. The vast majority of establishments will happily assist you. If you already own a shotgun, a friendly reminder to keep practicing with EasyShot shooting targets. Check us out today!